Casting lead-core shooting heads

The leader and fly are continually tangling on the cast...

Q: I started using lead-core shooting heads to get down on our local reefs. My problem is the leader and fly are continually tangling on the cast. Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid this problem?

Jim Vance,
Miami

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A: It is possible after considerable practice to false cast weighted line and avoid the tangles. A quick cast to master involves never false casting. Heavily weighted flies or weighted lines at the end of the cast do not slow down, as do floating lines. If the line's direction is suddenly reversed, shock waves are created that tangle the cast. Unless you are willing to put in the practice time, I would avoid false casting.

Instead of false casting, at the end of the retrieve try roll casting the weighted fly - or the head of the fly line ­- out of the water and allow it to unroll in front. As soon as the fly contacts the surface, make a drawing motion with the rod to load it. Then make a continuously rounded casting stroke, imagining you have the rod tip inside a horseshoe. This causes the backcast to flow around in a circle, avoiding the quick change of direction and accompanying shock waves.

Because the line was "hauled" from the water, the rod loads deeper, aiding the cast.